Sega Saturn Shmup Value Buying Guide

As I’ve been revising my Rare and Valuable Game Guides, I’ve noticed 2D shooters are starting to show up more frequently on highest-priced games. Shmups are indeed a genre with diehard collectors and there’s some real rarities in the mix that are hard to pass up.

The Sega Saturn has one of my favorite Shmup libraries and its also a console with a big collector following and a wide array of game pricing. With that in mind, I wanted to provide a guide that helped shooter fans find the best shooters for the best price.

The table below shows the average pricing of both Disc-only (Loose) and Complete in Box copies along with a game quality score (the game itself and its port quality). We use a algorithm to balance these prices and game score along with other factors like if it is Multi-region (typically Japan-only vs also having a Western release) and if the Saturn is the only console version available of the game (both factors boost the game’s value score a bit).  Also, by clicking on the name of the game, you can jump to that game’s entry in our full Saturn Shmup Library guide.  I hope you find these scores helpful. If you have feedback on why a game is scored a certain way, I’m open to hearing suggestions. Thanks!

  • Disc$ = Average sale price of loose/disc-only game
  • CIB$ = Average sale price of complete game with manual and case
  • Excl = Console exclusive to the Sega Saturn (includes digital re-issues on modern consoles).
  • Multi = “Yes” indicates it is available in more than one region (“No” typically indicates Japan exclusive)
  • Game = Game quality score from 1 to 100 (higher is better)
  • Value = Value algorithm score that balances prices, game quality and exclusivity – from 1 to 100 (higher is better)
Title Disc$ CIB$ Excl Multi Game Value Shop
Galactic Attack / Layer Section (Rayforce) $35 $185 Yes Yes 93 85 eBay
Strikers 1945 $25 $60 No No 90 82 eBay
Tempest 2000 $25 $42 No Yes 85 81 eBay
Gradius Deluxe Pack $16 $35 No No 84 79 eBay
Detana Twinbee Yahoo! Deluxe Pack $15 $30 No No 83 79 eBay
Salamander Deluxe Pack $15 $30 No No 83 79 eBay
Parodius Deluxe Pack $30 $40 No No 84 77 eBay
DoDonPachi $40 $150 No No 95 77 eBay
Soukyugurentai $50 $110 No No 92 77 eBay
Gunbird $40 $90 No No 89 77 eBay
Batsugun $140 $350 Yes No 97 74 eBay
Thunder Force V $30 $80 No No 83 73 eBay
Kingdom Grand Prix $100 $120 Yes No 82 72 eBay
Cotton 2 $112 $180 Yes No 85 71 eBay
Game Tengoku $33 $110 No No 84 71 eBay
Thunder Force V Special Pack $70 $104 No No 85 69 eBay
Twinkle Star Sprites $95 $136 No No 90 68 eBay
Sexy Parodius $40 $150 No No 84 66 eBay
Sonic Wings Special $40 $80 No No 77 66 eBay
Darius 2 $27 $70 Yes No 70 65 eBay
Fantasy Zone $15 $40 No No 70 65 eBay
Sengoku Blade $97 $132 No No 86 65 eBay
Radiant Silvergun $113 $280 No No 100 63 eBay
DonPachi $46 $109 No No 74 59 eBay
Cotton Boomberang $240 $312 Yes No 85 59 eBay
Darius Gaiden $40 $80 No No 70 59 eBay
Skull Fang $43 $64 Yes No 63 58 eBay
Dezaemon 2 $25 $35 Yes No 60 57 eBay
Thunder Force Gold Pack 1 $40 $55 No No 66 57 eBay
Layer Section II (Raystorm) $32 $53 No No 64 56 eBay
Guardian Force $190 $230 Yes No 75 55 eBay
Bokan to Ippatsu! Doronbo Kanpekiban $100 $110 No No 74 54 eBay
Metal Black $78 $125 No No 72 53 eBay
Blast Wind $180 $400 Yes No 80 53 eBay
In the Hunt $45 $80 No No 64 52 eBay
Battle Garegga $182 $300 No No 96 51 eBay
Gun Frontier $130 $130 No No 72 48 eBay
3 Wonders $98 $155 No No 71 47 eBay
Thunder Force Gold Pack 2 $62 $138 No No 66 47 eBay
Strikers 1945 II $86 $104 No No 65 47 eBay
Hyper Duel $300 $490 Yes No 84 47 eBay
Shienryu $80 $284 No No 80 46 eBay
Sol Divide $50 $65 No No 55 44 eBay
Macross: Do You Remember Your Love $15 $15 No No 46 43 eBay
Konami Antiques MSX Collection $44 $70 No No 53 42 eBay
Cho Aniki $27 $60 No No 50 42 eBay
Gekirindan $80 $200 No No 68 42 eBay
Tukai! Slot Shooting $10 $20 Yes No 42 41 eBay
Kyuukyoku Tiger II Plus $200 $260 Yes No 62 40 eBay
Planet Joker $20 $30 Yes No 40 38 eBay
Terra Cresta 3D $60 $70 No No 44 32 eBay
Image Fight & X-Multiply $300 $300 No No 77 21 eBay
Steam Heart’s $165 $220 No No 48 12 eBay

I hope you find this useful!   Be sure to read the full Sega Saturn Shmup Guide for more info!

More Introductory Guides:

More Console-Specific Shmup Guides:


Iván Díaz Álvarez says:

You should include in each entry if it is the American or Japanese version, there are games like Layer Section (Galactic Attack) or Darius Gaiden that have a much less expensive Japanese version. In fact, Layer Section costs 10 times less (15$ without spine card) and it has always been the poster child of “good and cheap Saturn Shmup”.

Iván Díaz Álvarez says:

Also, you should mention spine cards, in cheap games they are not important, but having it or not means 100$+ of difference in the most expensive games, I am not strict with those, but wouldn’t want to pay top dollar for a game without spine card.

racketboy says:

Those are valid ideas, but I kinda averaged out the values. It’s tempting to get really detailed in the tables, but I’m afraid it would clutter up the table (which already has a hard time fitting on smaller screens).
I will think about solutions to this though!

Kevin says:

Hey there, great list! As a huge fan of the console and shmups, this list is much appreciated!
I do have a few suggestions!
I just returned from a Japan trip where we visited every game shop in the Akihabara district of Tokyo, as well as Den Den Town in Osaka. Super Potato (1 in Tokyo and 2 in Osaka), Trader, Retro Game Camp, Surugaya Specialty Store, Beep, Friends, multiple Book Offs, Retro TV Game Revival, and A-Too Nipponbashi (which had the lowest prices by far). I agree with Ivan- a lot of Japan versions of these games games are much cheaper than their US counterparts, as well as much cheaper to obtain on Japanese soil vs buying on eBay from the west (often half the prices listed!).
Maybe instead of using Multi region column, you could do multiple entries for each region it’s available in, ex: US, J, EA, etc and price accordingly- or indicate if these are retail or eBay prices.
I also agree with Ivan’s statement about the spine cards- usually about a $10 difference on sub $50 games, but you will certainly pay up for the more expensive titles. You can get a Shienryu without a spine card for under $100. I got my complete-without-spine card Darius Gaiden for about $20 and my Gunbird for about $24. It wouldn’t hurt to put another column in there for “complete with spine card!”
This brings me to another thought- I do feel as if the prices for some of these- specifically Salamander Deluxe aren’t accurate- After visiting many Japan game stores, I saw this one for no less than $45 complete, without the spine card.
All in all, this is a great guide, and your hard work shows! This is exceptionally useful to those considering making a trip to Japan- and not knowing how much to pay for certain titles. I only figured out approximate values after looking at games and prices for the two weeks I was able to stay. Feel free to contact me, I can talk about shmups all day!
Thank you for making this guide!

racketboy says:

Thanks so much for the input!

I would love to include more detail on these, but between trying to get the work shared and the technical limitations I ran into with a table fitting more info scaling properly on different screen sizes, this was my best compromise at the moment. Maybe after I get caught up on some of my other post revisions, I can circle back to this with further price updates and added features.

In reality, that’s kinda my content technique the last decade or so — get info out there and then keep improving it over the years 🙂

As for the pricing of Japanese releases like Salamander Deluxe, I was going strictly by averages on eBay completed auctions. So, in some cases, that could bring a difference compared to Japan shops. But I will keep this in mind.


AngrySquirrel34 says:

Very cool idea. I’m pretty much done buying Saturn games, prices being what they are now, but I enjoyed reading this article.

Unfortunately, it made me regret not buying more in the late 90s/early 00s when I had the chance!

racketboy says:

Yeah — really though, most of the only deal time was when they were in clearance bins in the US retail scene. Granted they were still cheaper 10 years ago than now (what wasn’t), but once it was into Sega fans’ hands, it was just a gradual increase from there, for the most part. (The fragility of the US cases factor in too)

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